Pretoria - For 58-year-old unemployed Lina Hlatshwayo, owning a house of her own was just but a dream. But today, Hlatshwayo is the proud recipient of a newly built house in Ivory Park, Tembisa.
Hlatshwayo is one of 76 recipients of houses built by the Youth Build campaign, an initiative started by the Department of Human Settlements and private sector stakeholders with the aim of raising awareness about the construction sector and the role of the youth in it. About 80 youths from the Gauteng area volunteered their services to the initiative as part of Youth Month celebrations.
"I still can't believe that a few days ago there was nothing," she said, pointing to where the house stands.
"I never lost hope of having a house of my own, I kept on praying daily for the house, my prayers have been answered, I thank God for that," she said with excitement.
The aim of the initiative is to also promote youth access to economic opportunities within the housing sector and promote volunteerism and partnership in communities. The Youth Build campaign started on 23 May 2010 and ends on 4 June.
Human Settlements Deputy Minister Zoe Kota-Fredericks said her department is committed to building partnerships with the youth and communities in building houses.
"We want to skill the youth in the housing and construction sector. The partnership we are forming with the youth is a big commitment," she said.
Kota-Fredericks explained that the youth taking part in the project would be on the Department of Human Settlements database and would be used in future projects.
"We want to instill a sense of responsibility in the youth," she said.
Volunteer, Lister Mogashu, 28, told BuaNews that she was proud of what she had achieved.
"I have been looking for a job for a long time with no luck and I then decided to volunteer my services. I'm happy to be part of the project, I have learnt a lot," she said.
Most of the houses have been built for senior citizens.
The initiative also aims to mobilise youth in participating in the acceleration of housing delivery.
The department partnered with the Gauteng Department of Housing and Local Government, the City of Johannesburg, National Youth Development Agency, Youth Build International, Construction, Education and Training Authority and the National Homebuilders Registration Council to build the houses in wards 78 and 79 in Ivory Park.